2014 Youth Work Award Recipients

2014 Youth Work Awards

The second annual NSW Youth Work Awards were celebrated at a gala awards ceremony, hosted on September 12, 2014 and saw 43 nominations received in 9 categories. Each nomination shared an exceptional story of positive contribution to the health, safety, and wellbeing of young people in NSW. The nominees in each of the nine categories are listed below, with a profile on each winner. 

(Nominees with winner in boldhighly commended in italics)

Excellence Through Outcomes Based Data

Allison Blight

Allison is a dynamic member of staff at Waratah Technology Campus - she has been pivotal in getting the Positive Behaviour for Learning (PBL) up and running at Waratah Technology Campus. She is a driver of many forums for the school and is an inspiration to many who work with her. 

Outstanding Project or Service Working with CALD Young People

Magdi Breir

Magdi is the Multicultural Community and Liaison Officer with NSW Police based in St Marys. He works with communities and police to strengthen links and facilitate communication and interaction between police and culturally and linguistically diverse communities. Magdi has been part of the St Marys' Police Station for over 18 months, helping staff see the potential in others and help them achieve their potential. 

Multicultural Youth Advocacy Network NSW

MYAN NSW engages, connects and builds the capacity of the youth and multicultural sectors to effectively meet the needs of young people from refugee and migrant backgrounds. In the last year 16 people from Illawarra and Western Sydney have been trained in advocacy and campaigning skills. They have supported 2 people from CALD backgrounds to appear before the NSW Parliamentary Inquiry into Youth Volunteering, and 53 organisations took part in the MYAN NSW sector development forums on employment issues for multicultural young people.

Outstanding Project or Service working with Aboriginal Young People

Luke Chesworth (After Dark, Glebe Youth Service) 

The Glebe Youth Service delivers the City of Sydney funded After Dark program. This program has developed a strong connection with the local Aboriginal community with Aboriginal young people make it up around 80% of attendees. By implementing innovative strategies ‘Glebe After Dark’ has sustained high numbers of at-risk youg people attending the program. The program is hailed by the Glebe community as being a key factor in the current positive level of community wellbeing.


In 2014, Youth Connection North Coast coordinated the annual Young NAIDOC parade in Lismore. In its third year, the event has developed from a beauty pageant style event to a huge community celebration providing young Aboriginal people in the region with the opportunity to showcase their strengths and celebrate NAIDOC. There was a widely representational spread of young people from the many diverse groups from the Aboriginal community coming together to celebrate local Aboriginal young people.


  • Darren Woodhouse

Best Partnership

ING Direct & Cerebral Palsy Alliance

The Ignition Mentoring program matches ING Direct’s employees with teenagers aged 14-16yrs living with cerebral palsy. Over 10 months, ING Direct employees spend over 100 hours mentoring the teenagers through a range of organized meetings, workshops and activities. As a result of this program, mentees build their confidence, self-esteem and interpersonal skills. ING volunteers learn transferable skills they can use in their work place.


  • Waratah Technology Campus & Plan-it-Youth Mentoring Program

Youth Work Volunteer of the Year

Laura Watts

Laura volunteers for the Blackdog Institute to provide informational sessions to school students on mental health and mood disorders. Laura presents her own story and relates these sensitive issues with care and passion to students. Laura's presentation has paved the way for important conversations for families in the local community around mental health.  

Youth Led Project of the Year

(Awarded by The Frank Team)

Central Coast Youth Service

The Central Coast Youth Leadership Project is an initiative that gives young people the opportunity to engage with youth-led and youth-driven development projects within their local communities. These young people engaged with their local communities, and direct consultation with other young people, to explore what was lacking in community participation. As a result from the youth consultations, 6 varied strategies for youth community engagement came to fruition through youth led and youth driven programs, projects and events.


  • Mosman Council Youth Services
  • Interns Australia
  • Newcastle Undead Society
  • Cessnock Youth Entertainment Committee

Youth Worker of the Year

Jarrod Wheatley

Jarrod is a youth worker in the Blue Mountains, where he coordinated the Katoomba Youth Centre from 2008 and 2011. During that time he founded the Blue Mountains Street Art Collaborative. Now, as the Street Art Murals Australia coordinator, Jarrod takes an asset based approach, working with new and senior street artists to grow the project around the young people’s strengths. Jarrod aims to increase street artists’ inclusion and participation in society It is his dedication to bettering the situation of young people wherever the opportunity arises that makes Jarrod an outstanding youth worker.


  • Roxanne Rigg
  • Tom Stranger
  • Mary-Kate Ferguson
  • Linda Thomas
  • Anna Beniuk
  • Ashley Gobeil
  • Roz Ewart
  • Bronwyn Dyason
  • Mere Johnson
  • Anuska Mensch
  • Athena Field
  • Lee Robinson
  • Sarah Hogarth
  • Astrid Gearin
  • Denis Laris 

Youth Service of the Year

Mobile Youth Service

Mobile Youth Service is an education program run by Save The Children Australia. The Mobile Youth Service targets communities where young people lack access to sufficient conventional youth services. The Mobile Youth van has been purpose-built to be a mobile, self-sufficient youth centre; with on-board power and latest technology to deliver a range of education and child protection programs to improve the health and wellbeing of young people. The Mobile Youth Service works across NSW, reaching 1700 young people.


  • Youth Solutions
  • Mountains Youth Services Team
  • Headspace Newcastle
  • Youth Solutions
  • Mosman Council Youth Services
  • Young Life Australia
  • Reach Foundation
  • Samaritans
  • Southern Youth and Family Services

Lifetime Achievement Award

 Athena Field

Athena has worked as a youth worker for 20 years, the past 13 years at YouthZone in St George in case management, program development, early intervention and prevention, event management, and crisis intervention. She is a dedicated, professional and passionate youth worker, who is very much admired by both her peers and the people she helps.


  • Andrew Cummings
  • Kim McLoughry
  • Lakin Agnew 

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